10 things you need to know today: February 3, 2017
French soldier shoots machete-wielding man at the Louvre, Trump expected to hit Iran with new sanctions, and more
Machete-wielding man shot by soldier near Paris' Louvre museum
A French soldier shot and wounded a man carrying a machete and shouting "Allahu akbar" ("God is great" in Arabic) at the entrance to a shopping area at the Louvre museum in Paris, police said Friday. The soldier fired five shots, seriously wounding the suspect in the abdomen. Michel Cadot, head of the French capital's police, said the armed man was "clearly aggressive and represented a direct threat," and Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said shooting the man averted an attack that was "terrorist in nature." France has been under a state of emergency since the 2015 Paris attacks, which killed 130 people.
Trump expected to hit Iran with new sanctions over missile test
The Trump administration is expected to impose new sanctions on Iran as early as Friday in response to Tehran's recent ballistic missile test, as well as its alleged ongoing sponsoring of terrorism, according to two people with knowledge of the plan. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn said Wednesday that Iran was defying a United Nations Security Council resolution prohibiting it from launching any missile capable of carrying a nuclear weapon. The resolution was passed after Tehran struck an international deal to rein in its nuclear program. Up to 17 entities linked to Iran's missile program could be hit with sanctions.
Trump takes harder line on Israeli settlements
The Trump administration gently warned Israel to end a burst of construction of settlement housing in Palestinian territories, saying it "may not be helpful" in achieving Middle East peace. President Trump doesn't "believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, but "the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders" could become an obstacle to Trump's goal of working toward a peace plan. The statement marked a shift for Trump, who has accused former President Barack Obama of being weak in his support for Israel and whose aides have made statements supporting settlements. Since Trump's inauguration, Israel has announced plans to build 5,500 new housing units in occupied Palestinian territory.
Republicans suspend committee rules to advance another Trump nominee
Senate Republicans advanced the confirmation process for President Trump's controversial nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, on Thursday. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee's Republican leaders suspended a rule requiring at least one member from both parties to be present in order to hold a vote, allowing Republicans to vote 11-0 to recommend Pruitt's confirmation despite a boycott by the Democrats on the committee. The nomination now goes to the full Senate, which is expected to confirm Pruitt next week.
White House defends Yemen mission as success
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said at his Thursday news briefing that a raid on an al Qaeda site in Yemen that resulted in the death of U.S. Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, was a "successful operation by all standards" because of the "totality" of what it accomplished. Spicer, pushing back against reports of inadequate intelligence information for the mission, acknowledged that it was hard to declare any operation a total success if there is a loss of life, but that the intelligence gathered might save lives down the line. The Pentagon said the operation, which targeted al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, killed 14 militants; the U.S. military is investigating how many citizens lost their lives in the attack, as medics on the scene said "about 30 people" died.
Trump suggests Berkeley federal funding at risk
President Trump chided University of California, Berkeley, administrators on Thursday for canceling a speech by right-wing writer and provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart News due to protests. Hundreds of people gathered outside the student union before Yiannopoulos' scheduled appearance, and a small group broke windows and started a fire in the plaza. Campus buildings were locked down for several hours. Trump, whose chief strategist Stephen Bannon is a former head of Breitbart News, tweeted: "If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view — NO FEDERAL FUNDS?"
Uber chief drops out of Trump advisory council
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said Thursday that he was leaving President Trump's business advisory council over Trump's executive order on immigration. "The executive order is hurting many people in communities all across America," Kalanick said. "Families are being separated, people are stranded overseas and there's a growing fear the U.S. is no longer a place that welcomes immigrants." Uber has lost 200,000 customers since the start of a #DeleteUber boycott effort over Kalanick's participation in the council and his company's decision to continue providing rides at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York after taxi drivers declared a strike to protest the order, which temporarily blocks travel from seven Muslim-majority nations where terrorists have found refuge. Kalanick said his agreement to join Trump's council was never meant to be an endorsement.
Haley says U.S. Russia sanctions remain in place
In her first remarks to the United Nations Security Council, President Trump's new U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, strongly condemned Russia for its "aggressive actions" in support of separatists in eastern Ukraine. She indicated that U.S. sanctions over Russia's annexation of Crimea would remain in effect, dousing expectations that Trump's promise to improve relations with Moscow signaled a plan to ease the policy. "We do want to better our relations with Russia," Haley, South Carolina's former governor, said Thursday. "However, the dire situation in eastern Ukraine is one that demands clear and strong condemnation of Russian actions." The U.S. did, however, ease some restrictions on cyber-security sales to Russia's Federal Security Service, which is accused of trying to influence the U.S. election.
Trump tweaks Schwarzenegger, makes promise to churches at prayer breakfast
President Trump surprised participants at his first National Prayer Breakfast in Washington with a rambling address that started with a prayer for Arnold Schwarzenegger, who replaced Trump as host of The Apprentice, to get better ratings. "They hired a big, big movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to take my place. And we know how that turned out. The ratings went down the tubes," Trump said. "I want to just pray for Arnold, if we can, for those ratings." Later, Trump vowed to "totally destroy" the Johnson Amendment, a tax code provision barring churches and other tax-exempt entities from backing political candidates.
Google passes Apple as world's most valuable brand
Google has overtaken Apple to become the most valuable brand in the world, according to a new report. Apple was the world's most valuable company for five years, but its brand value has dropped by 27 percent to $107 billion in the last year, according to Brand Finance's Global 500 2017 report. Google's brand has jumped to $109 billion as its advertising revenue rose by 20 percent, putting it in the top spot for the first time since 2011.